Tuesday 30 June 2015

The Margate Adventure - Day 1

Earlier in the month my wife gave me the news that my birthday present would be a weekend in Margate. I used to come here on family holidays in the 70's and 80's and had always wanted to return again. Dreamland had just just reopened after an £18m restoration project, we had tickets to visit there on Saturday. We were booked into The Warwick Guest House which looked amazing and had a really nice breakfast menu and we would be travelling first class. I couldn't wait to return to Margate!

I usually look forward to train journeys but as soon as my bum is on the seat I just want to be at my destination. Today felt much different though as we were travelling first class, the seats were much comfier, there was free wifi and no screaming kids. The only slightly disappointing thing was there were no power points on this train, not the end of the world though!

I'd been at work all morning so my wife picked up some lunch for the train, her choice was an excellent one.

By the end of the journey I was convinced first class was the only way as the complimentary drinks, crisps and biscuits (they just kept offering them) ended up costing more than the extra paid to travel first class.

Once at Liverpool Street we headed to St Pancras to catch the high speed service to Margate. The train on the platform looked really unhappy, I was delighted though, it had plug sockets meaning I could fully charge my phone.

This giant billboard greeted us at Margate station, 30 years later and I was finally back here again!

As I walked away from the station the memories came flooding back.

Considered as an eyesore by many I love Arlington House. This eighteen storey brutalist tower was built in 1963, I can remember gazing up at it as a kid.

I can also remember spending the week here on Buenos Ayres in Ocean View holiday flats, as the name suggests the views across Margate are stunning.

The entire Arlington Square area beneath Arlington House currently remains boarded up and derelict. A sad sight but hopefully it'll pick up again soon with the relaunch of Dreamland.

The billboards told some amazing Dreamland memories.

The joke shop that was once here was where I spent most of my spending money when I was a kid.

I'm guessing had this place still been open my money would be spent here these days!

It was great to see the iconic art deco cinema building with Dreamland sign again.

The giant arrow pointed to where we would be heading tomorrow.

The Wimpy was still on Marine Parade, I can remember eating chips here in the 80's and thinking it was the best thing ever.

This place looked exactly the same too.

I would be eating breakfast at the hotel this weekend but maybe someday I'll return here for an inspection.

I have fond memories of sitting here with my nan eating ice cream.

We passed through the old town, there was no end of vintage shops. Definitely somewhere we would be returning to later for a closer look.

This place looked like it hadn't changed in years!

Eventually we arrived at The Warwick Guest House where we would be staying for the weekend. This place was amazing, read my special feature on it here.

Having drunk the complimentary bottles of wine at the guest house we took the beach route back towards the town.

The Lido was looking fairly derelict except for the Cliff Bar down below.

Back in the old town we took a look at some of the vintage shop window displays.

The Ruby Lounge had sadly closed its doors for the last time.

This place was packed when we first passed it (I took this photo after they had closed) so we decided to stop for a quick pizza. We had cocktails on our mind so thought lining our stomachs would be a good plan first.

We ordered a local cider with our pizzas, quite strong and very tasty.

We waited and waited but no pizzas arrived, the sun was setting so we enquired about our pizzas and ordered more cider.

The toilets in the pizza restaurant were lined with old images of Margate.

Finally over an hour after ordering them the pizzas finally arrived, they were really nice but not really worth waiting so long for.

As the sun was setting Margate was looking quite stunning!

The chap from the guesthouse had recommended The Glass Jar for cocktails.

It had heaps of character and a tiny retro kitchen by the bar.

Great lighting too!

My wife was slightly jealous of my cocktail, hers did taste amazing with the chocolate rim but it was so strong, I kindly finished it for her.

They served an impressive pina colada here, my wife went for a mango mojito, both tasted excellent and they were really generous with the alcohol. 

Fair point!

We later discovered Morgan's Dance Hall, time to try their cocktails we thought.

Nowhere near as impressive as The Glass Jar, my black raspberry Russian costing £7.50 tasted more like a raspberry nesquik with no alcohol in it. I later mentioned this to the barman, he implied I was after a freebie so we drank up and left.

A shame the cocktails and service at Morgan's were poor as the venue itself was stunning!

On the way home we spotted the entrance to Margate Caves, they're currently closed but there is a campaign to re-open them again.

This place had been recommended to me but with our guest house serving an impressive breakfast I wouldn't be visiting here on this trip.

The guest house was beautifully lit when we arrived back and we were nicely drunk. Time for some sleep, we were visiting Dreamland tomorrow!

Click here for day 2

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